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Revision as of 08:08, 19 July 2020 by Susanna Ånäs (talk | contribs) (Not an adaptation)
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Welcome to view an exercise of the many ways of remixing content in Wikidocumentaries and how to license them!

What is this?

What is Wikidocumentaries?

Wikidocumentaries is a maker space for citizen historians. It collects data and content from openly licensed outlets around the world about any topic – people, places, buildings, events and more. The topics cover everything that Wikipedia does, and it is possible to add even more personal, local, or generally less recognized historical topics to Wikidocumentaries.

Wikidocumentaries is made not only for exploration but for reusing the materials that are found in it. It is possible to annotate, correct data, locate and indentify, or use the materials as part of further works. Wikidocumentaries will provide functions and tools for this work.

What is this page?

This is an overview of licensing issues related to existing and imagined reuse opportunities provided by the site. This page is created as an exercise in the Creative Commons Certificates program, but it will remain as an overview and reference chart for guiding our reuse practices.

If you have ideas or questions related to this exercise, please add them to the talk page. (Unfortunately joining the wiki is still a bit of a pain, but please give it a try! You can also mail or use any of the other comms methods mentioned in the menu at the bottom of the page.)

Basic types of combining media

In order to specify the licensing conditions for each type of use, we must be clear on the basic concepts affecting copyright and licensing.

Derivative work/adaptation/remix

A derivative work – it can also be called an adaptation or a remix – is created when one or more works are altered in a way that creates a new work. Derivative works are also created when works are translated, or adapted from one medium to the other, for example when creating a film out of a book.

In order for the resulting work to be protected by copyright, a level of originality must be presented, and the level varies by jurisdiction.

  • Translating
  • Adapting for another medium
  • Syncing a musical work with a moving image is an adaptation regardless of what applicable copyright law may otherwise provide.

Not an adaptation

  • Cropping
  • Color correcting
  • Technical format-shifting (for example, converting a licensed work from a digital format to a physical copy) is not an adaptation regardless of what applicable copyright law may otherwise provide.
  • Fixing minor problems with spelling or punctuation is not an adaptation.
  • Reproducing and putting works together into a collection is not an adaptation of the individual works. For example, combining stand-alone essays by several authors into an essay collection for use as an open textbook is a collection and not an adaptation. Most opencourseware is a collection of others’ open educational resources (OER).
  • Including an image in connection with text, as in a blog post, a powerpoint, or an article, does not create an adaptation unless the photo itself is adapted.


The Creative Commons license condition ND (NoDerivatives) prohibits sharing derivatives of a work. It is still possible to create them, as long as they are not shared.


  • Postcard scenario
  • Mapwarper

Part of a collection

The reuse is not considered an adaptation if the new work is not based on or derived from the original work. Instead, the work becomes part of a collection.

In Wikidocumentaries we are interacting with several layers or collections. Images are released by museums, archives and libraries from their collections. At this stage they enter the collections of the aggregators. When Wikidocumentaries reads those images they become part of Wikidocumentaries collections.

None of these transitions changes the images or their copyright status. Wikidocumentaries displays the images along with the attribution to the original creators. Out of courtesy, Wikidocumentaries also displays the originating institution and the aggregator.

One thing to note is that often the data about the media, the metadata, can vary between the originating institution, the aggregator and Wikidocumentaries. In fact, images generally have (at least) two layers of copyright: one for the image and another for the metadata.


Many aggregators now require that the metadata of their partnering institutions must be in CC0 to allow the aggregators to clean, format and enrich the metadata without additional permissions.

Examples of this are for example:

  • Using an excerpt of a literary work to illustrate a point.


  • It is not required to apply Creative Commons ShareAlike license to the resulting work if SA-licensed works are used in it.
  • It is possible to use Creative Commons ND-licensed works in the resulting work and combine it with other works.


  • Image collection
  • Saved search result display
  • Mapstory?

Reading media to Wikidocumentaries

Wikidocumentaries displays materials from several outlets. These outlets are content aggregators that gather and display material from other organisations. All the source images have their individual copyright status and licenses. Currently Wikidocumentaries only reads media that is compatible with Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA or more open). With more detailed control we could display more content but limit reuse of the content if the licenses do not allow that.

Media is read from the following services

  • Finna, the Finnish content aggregator for museums, archives, and libraries. Includes PD, CC-licensed media, and copyrighted media. Media is hosted at the source organizations.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Images, maps. Includes PD and CC-licensed media media.
  • Creative Commons Search: Images. Includes PD and CC-licensed media media.
  • Europeana: Images. Includes PD, CC-licensed media, and copyrighted media. Media is hosted at the source organisations.
  • Flickr: Images. Includes PD, CC-licensed media, and copyrighted media.

Some scenarios that have not yet been realized

  • Reading images from Topotheques
  • Reading excerpts from newspapers or online literary works
  • Storing user-contributed images in third party services, such as Internet Archive or Google Photos, and using the images in Wikidocumentaries

Reuse scenarios in Wikidocumentaries

Displaying and distributing

  • Displaying the images on a topic page
  • Viewing the image metadata
  • Uploading an image to Wikimedia Commons
  • Downloading an image

Enriching metadata

  • Adding or changing the location an image was shot in
  • Annotating and identifying people, things or places in the pictures
  • Commenting the pictures
  • Tagging the image with available topics
  • Translating image caption or description

Creating new works based on other works

Saving a Wikidocumentaries search result display

Wikidocumentaries data is displayed in components. One displays people related to the topic while another displays works depicting the topic. The componenents can be viewed in different ways: visual gallery and list views are currently available, timeline and map views will be created. The data and the resulting imagery in the components can be filtered, faceted and sorted.

Data from different components can be displayed together on a map or a timeline or a combination of them. The configuration of these elements can be saved, and the resulting graphic can be exported. Currently, all data and images used in these components are from Wikimedia projects, which makes them unproblematic. What would be the situation be if more sources were added?

  • Are the components remixes = what materials can be displayed in them?
  • If they are remixes, are they only problematic when redistributed? Is the configuration data a remix?

Postcard scenario

This tool does not exist yet, but could be created. The user can pick any image and create a postcard of it by cropping the image, altering the colors, adding text and graphics on top. Graphic styles can imitate styles digitized from material shared on the platform.

  • Which copyright statuses, exceptions or licenses are good for the postcard images?
  • Is there a difference if the user only creates the postcard, prints it out for herself, or saves it in the system for others to further modify and make use of?
  • What is the classification of a digitized/extracted graphic style? Is it a derivative or an independent work?


Mapstories have not been realized yet, either. They are narratives that combine still images, text, map views, audio and video. Each frame includes a combination of several mediatypes, and there are transitions between each frame. Good examples of mapstories are these for example.

  • Are the mapstories remixes or collections?


The user can pick any scanned map found via Wikidocumentaries and rectify it. The process produces a distorted map image that aligns with a digital world map and can be used as a layer on top of it. The resulting ground control points can be saved and used to distort the original map again, also in another environment.

  • If the distorted map is not saved, only the resulting ground control points, can a ND license be used?

Wikidocumentaries licensing

Wikidocumentaries itself is a collection that brings together content and tools. Each of the components has their own copyright status, and Wikidocumentaries service has its own. So do the user contributions on the site.

Wikidocumentaries service

Wikidocumentaries license is CC BY 4.0, which covers for example the layouts and the original texts.

User contributions

All user contributions that are considered data, will be licensed with CC0. Any remixes will be licensed with CC BY 4.0.


The user interface translations are created in and licensed CC BY 3.0.

Source code

The source code of the user interface is licensed with GNU General Public License.


  • In order to ensure the compatibility of the source materials for remix, they should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons before they can be remixed.
  • There should be a similar normalizing process for user-contributed materials that fall outside the project scope of Wikimedia Commons.
  • It is useful to display media with restrictive licensing to be able to identify falsely restricted or licensed works. Their reuse should be limited.


About Technology Design Content modules Tool pages Projects

Wikidocumentaries blog

Wikidocumentaries demo

Phabricator project

Facebook group

GitHub repository

Translation in TranslateWiki

Wikidocumentaries Slack

Setting up dev environment



Using Wikibase

Federation with Wikidata



Media metadata

Properties to content

User registration


Page types

Landing page

Search page

Topic page

User page

Organisation page

Project page

Tool page



Main toolbar and footer


Topic page header

Content module




Active modules


Family tree


Historical map


Image viewer



Module ideas





Newspaper articles

Social graph






Visual editor

Query tool


Open Refine

Creating topics

Uploading images

Geolocating tool

Metadata editor

Rectifying maps


Identification tool

Central Park Archives